(CN) – Nearly 2 in 3 Americans say they believe President Donald Trump committed crimes before taking office, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted shortly after Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen testified to Congress last week. In his sworn congressional testimony, Cohen called the president “a conman, a cheat and a racist.”
Cohen, who is set to start a three-year prison term for violating campaign finance laws and lying to Congress, provided evidence to the House Oversight Committee to back up his claim that Trump knowingly paid hush money in 2016 to women who claimed to have affairs with the president. He also accused President Trump of committing tax fraud and other crimes.
Following his testimony, 50 percent of Americans polled said they believe Cohen over the president, while only 35 percent said they believed President Trump.
“When two-thirds of voters think you have committed a crime in your past life, and almost half of voters say it’s a tossup over whether you committed a crime while in the Oval Office, confidence in your overall integrity is very shaky,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement. “Add to that Michael Cohen, a known liar headed to the big house, has more credibility than the leader of the free world.”
While 48 percent of Republicans said they don’t believe Trump committed any crimes before taking office, every other demographic overwhelmingly said they believe crimes were committed by the president, including 65 percent of independents and 69 percent of women.
Americans are more divided on whether Trump committed crimes since becoming president. According to the poll, 45 percent said they believe he has, compared to 43 percent who say he hasn’t.
When asled about the president’s character traits, 65 percent of those polled said Trump is not honest, including 25 percent of Republicans.
Regarding his other traits, a majority of Americans – 58 percent – said Trump does not have good leadership skills. The same percentage said they don’t believe he cares about average Americans and 71 percent said he is not a good role model for children.
While Americans may not trust Trump and think he may have committed crimes before taking office, a majority said Congress should hold off on starting the impeachment process. Of those polled, 59 percent said Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings, compared to 35 percent who said they should.
Despite a reluctance to begin impeachment, 58 percent said Congress should investigate Cohen’s claims about the president’s illegal activities. Only 35 percent said no investigation should be taken by Congress.
The poll also found that Americans approved of the way Democrats handled Cohen’s testimony compared to Republicans. Those polled approved of the Democrats’ handling of the matter 41 to 36 percent. Meanwhile, 51 percent said they disapproved of the way Republicans handled Cohen.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking Republican member of the House Oversight Committee, sparred with Cohen during his testimony, yelling at the former lawyer for being dishonest and accusing him of not being remorseful for his crimes. Cohen previously served as the deputy finance chairman for the Republican Party.